Lottery's auditor submits resignation | Arkansas Blog

Lottery's auditor submits resignation

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  • Michael Hyde
Michael Hyde, the Arkansas Lottery's internal auditor, has informed the Lottery Commission of his intention to resign.

He told the lottery commission in an e-mail that he was resigning effective 5 p.m. June 22. But he'll be using accrued leave time in the meanwhile. His note thanked his assistant, Whitnie Hall, for her hard work, dedication and loyalty. He otherwise said nothing about his reasons for leaving.

I'm trying to find out more. Hyde had irked some members of the commission with persistent findings of questionable activities during the Passailaigue era and, more recently, with continuing questions about the legality of a contract change that benefited lottery vendor Scientific Games.

I've tried to reach lottery officials for comment, but so far I've heard only from Commissioner Bruce Engstrom, who's been a generally minority critic on the commission of the Scientific Games deal. "It was apparent that this commission has adopted an attitude that if you find a problem, the last thing you do is let anybody know about it," he said. "That runs 100 percent counter to the responsibilities of an internal auditor."

Engstrom, an accountant, continued: "Through diligent work, when he uncovered irregularities, it made a significant number of people on the commission unhappy." Engstrom said he thought the Scientific Games controversy was a "tipping point" for Hyde. Engstrom said his own feeling was that some on the commission were looking for a way to fire Hyde. "That put a lot of pressure on him and I think that's what prompted him to move. I think it is a great loss to the commission. I wish him well."

Engstrom said the reaction by commissioners critical of Hyde's work "sends a terrible message to other employees and anybody else who might apply for the job: If you find a problem, keep quiet. I don't think that's what the people of Arkansas want out of an internal auditor."

Said lottery director Bishop Woosley:

Max, I can confirm that Mr. Hyde resigned. I have no comments beyond wishing him well and advising that I can’t speak to his reasons for resigning as I have not spoken with him. As you probably know, the Internal Auditor works for the Commission as a whole and not the Director. That position is hired by and reports directly to the Commission. Because of that, only the Commission can speak to his replacement and the process for replacing him moving forward.

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